Plenary stands to chant "Make Mercury History" as the conference comes to a close.
The fifth and final day of the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury convened in a series of plenary sessions throughout the day. Delegates had worked in Contact Groups throughout Thursday night and into the early morning hours on Friday, in order to reach agreement on the COP3 decisions.
On Friday, the COP alternated between plenary sessions, resumed Contact Group sessions, and bilateral consultations in an effort to conclude agreement on all topics. By the closing gavel for COP3, decisions had been adopted on the following items:
Cooperation between the Secretariats of the Minamata Convention and the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions;
Review of Annexes A & B (respectively, mercury-added products and processes using mercury or mercury compounds);
Guidance for completing the national reporting format;
Capacity building, technical assistance and technology transfer;
Terms of reference (TOR) for the Implementation and Compliance Committee (ICC);
Guidance on the management of contaminated sites;
Review of the financial mechanism;
Amendment of Annex A (dental amalgam);
Effectiveness evaluation; and
Programme of Work and Budget.
In addition, decisions on elections to the Bureau, the ICC, and Specific International Programme to Support Capacity Building and Technical Assistance (SIP) Governing Board were adopted. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director was asked to assess possible options for enhancing the SIP and its operations. These decisions joined decisions on Review of the Financial Mechanism and Venue and Date of COP4, which were adopted earlier in the week, to comprise the COP’s marching orders for work under the Convention during the next two years.
During the closing plenary, the African Group expressed appreciation for progress made in some decisions but noted that Amendments to Annex A did not progress as they had wished. The EU expressed regret that the proposal on international cooperation was not adopted despite overwhelming support by parties.
The Central and Eastern European Group applauded the “baby steps” made by the Convention and noted that there were bound to be challenges in the Convention’s early stages. The decisions on the approval of the ICC TOR and Cooperation between the Secretariats of the Minamata Convention and the BRS Conventions were welcomed by several speakers.
COP3 was gaveled to a close at 2:46 am on 30 November.
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